Some hard facts before an obvious question is asked. Firstly, the older one gets, the more likely they are to acquire Alzheimer’s disease. And that’s just normal aging, nothing that includes using/abusing alcohol, environmental conditions, or head trauma. Alzheimer’s is being studied in earnest for a few reasons; a huge numbers of aging baby boomers, and for the money that will bring. So the question is:
Do you care?
That’s just the practical side of it. I want to go a step further, borrow from personal stories. Please know that I’ll likely add to this post later. It’s been a few days, lots going on, but I wanted to keep the pages going.
In our day center, we had seven years worth of people coming through our doors. Dementia developed from many conditions: stroke, alcohol, aging, combinations of all of these and more. (These were the most common).
Dementia, (of which Alzheimer’s is only one of many classifications) isn’t judicious about what part of the brain it affects. Let’s say it messes with your memory; you don’t remember that your spouse has died. In your world, they’re alive, but they’re not around.
They never show up.
Something must be wrong, you’ve hurt them. Perhaps they’re out somewhere bleeding. Thoughts, fears, rush into your head. Where the hell are they? You love them, want them here! NOW!!!
A grey shadow flutters across the window — maybe it’s them. No.
A bird calls, what or who disturbed it? Them? No.
Pause a moment, consider that as your reality.
Fear floods your brain.
Your inner voice races.
More voices join in.
And … and …
You are what you are. Scared to death.
You see a head in a box … it’s yours.